In which all but one avoid falling to a grisly death

To begin: yes, I know that with a little effort, I could make the portrait-oriented pictures the same dimensions as the landscape-oriented ones. TOO MUCH WORK. Besides, there’s so much beautiful GREEN to make up for it. Dissent will not be tolerated.

This Mother’s Day, those of us who could make it met at Pine Hills Nature Preserve in central-western Indiana. It’s within spitting distance of Shades State Park, but it’s much less well known. Another little known fact is that Shades used to be called “Shades of Death” State Park. Theories abound regarding the origin of that name. Fun!

The hogback ridges of Pine Hills are neatest thing about the preserve, but the place is wriggling with critters this time of year as well, some not as well-behaved as others:

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Shortly after taking the above photo, I chucked our digital camera over the edge of the ravine. It was such a curious feeling, watching it bounce twice on the grass next to the fence, praying, “Oh, God, please let it stop,” watching it spin out of sight, hearing that last contact several feet below us, and then waiting, waiting, for the final, inevitable crunch as it hit bottom. My heart kind of crumpled up in my chest.

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That’s a full-grown dead tree down there, people. Pictures don’t give you the full magnitude of the drop – probably 3 or 4 stories. BUT, and I’m writing a letter to Canon right now in my mind, IT SURVIVED THE FALL! More than survived, it THRIVED on it! It got a tattoo on the way down! It finished law school! It became a congresswoman! HOLY SHIT.

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Note the glee.

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Mottled sculpin I caught myself, although those are not MY hairy arms:

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My darling sister and brother:

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Fire pinks, lovely this time of year:

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So, as most of you know, my maiden name is Wood. Hence, the Woods (and one non-Wood) being treelike:

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I believe this is a Northern Water Snake. The action shots of my brother dangling it by the tail as it tried to bite him didn’t turn out nearly as well as this one:

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The Concerned Sister on the Devil’s Backbone. There was an actual carving of a devil’s face on here at one point, but someone hacked it away. Now there are just 19th and 20th century graffiti and deadly drops on either side.

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I snort in the face of danger.

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Covered bridge over Sugar Creek. Note the honeycombed cliffs directly behind the bridge.

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Ah, yes, it was her birthday as well, the sister. Mom made a flip-flop cake. The brother got his mucky hands in everything. Another beautiful day to be alive.

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Adult cricket frog.

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See? SEE? Never eat anything he touches.

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Then a quick jaunt to Shades State Park, where we saw a mother woodduck and her ducklings confusedly try to scale a waterfall. It seems animals occasionally fall into the ravines. If they’re light enough, like these ducks, they do fine. If they’re woodchucks, well…SPLAT.

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We rescued this fellow, a muddled Eastern box turtle, from the middle of the road on our way out.

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Sorry, that was a bunch of pictures and a rambling story. Good times had by all, though I need to get in better shape to enjoy the outdoors now that the weather’s nice. Cubicle work NOT CONDUCIVE TO ACTIVE LIFESTYLE.

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~ by themeansister on May 13, 2009.

2 Responses to “In which all but one avoid falling to a grisly death”

  1. I really enjoyed these pictures, Mean Sister. It looks you had a fun day. Too bad we weren’t invited on your stupid FAMILY ONLY outing. Whatever, I didn’t want to go anyway.

  2. You don’t call, you don’t write. Why should I invite you anywhere, huh?

    Just kidding!

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